Federal Government Resources for Educators: Ask What Your Country is Doing for You
There is very little more frustrating than trying to get good resources from the Federal Department of Education’s website. Besides the difficult to read font and the constant promoting of NCLB and Secretary Spelling’s latest comments, the site lacks that teacher’s touch that would give some indication of why this information is important and how it could be used.
Nevertheless, you are paying for it and by golly, you need to use it because there is a lot at this site and that includes grants, summer opportunities, lesson plans, free booklets, and research.
I also added a section at the end of this column where you can compare how the United States related to other countries in terms of spending on education as well as the performance of each state and its ranking in various areas of pupil performance and allocation of funding.
Department of Education Related Resource Links
Here are some of the more useful links that I dragged out of the site as well as others that are related to it.
A very large link site to most free materials offered by the government
Free lessons by subject area
A very uneven listing of resources of which some are excellent. Loaded with primary documents of lessons for more high achieving students.
A site that helps districts show how technology could be used and has been used. A tool kit that every district should check.
Subscribe to education newsletters
There are a variety of them, but most of them read like propaganda for NCLB. Worth a look, but don’t expect it to be easy to find. Perhaps the best one has teacher updates
The Math Panel
This site provides examples of programs that have shown progress in raising math scores.
What works is a clearinghouse of programs the government has cited that work. You can build your own database. Again, not easy to use.
Better known as ERIC, this is a very good place not only for research, but also for finding new ideas and avoiding reinventing the wheel.
Especially good for ordering booklets for parents to use.
Here is the top ten list: Very worthwhile
A student guide to government resources for older students.
Constitution Day Lessons and Resources
Federal reserve lessons and free resources
For teaching economics and banking, these materials are again, very uneven in quality. But, they are free and some are quite worthwhile.
A good federal resource on teaching economics through baseball.
US Mint Online Teaching Games
For younger students. Very good way to get them interested.
The Department of Education Budget and Comparisons to Other Nations
The federal government is not a big player when it comes to funding education where it is left to state and local agencies to provide about 91 percent of the funding. Of course, statistics are made for manipulation and so that remaining percentage equates to a $68 billion dollar budget. On the other hand that only represent about 2.3 percent of the federal budget and pales when compared to the defense budget of $711 billion. Most of this goes to Title 1 grants, about $14.3 billion.
Worldwide spending on education
This is an interesting graph that shows the difference between spending for defense and education.
Education spending by the GNP of the country is also of note.
A revealing site is this one that provides general data about how each state ranks in a variety of categories from funding to reading levels.